FUZZY SPOT,  September 2002, Cygnus

Cygnus is one of the most prominent of the Summer/Autumn Milky Way constellations, and the good news is that it seems to stay in the sky long into Winter (much like Gemini does in the Spring).  Cygnus represents a swan, with Alberio as the head and Deneb as the tail.  The remaining stars of the "cross" represent the outstretched wings.  According to mythology, Jupiter turned himself into the swan in order to seduce Leda, the wife of Tynadreus, as she bathed in a pool.  From their union, Pollux and Helen of Troy were conceived.

Cygnus is a constellation rich in a variety of object, with globular clusters being the obvious omission.  Lying along the Milky Way, open clusters dominate the list, with planetary nebulae and emission/reflection nebulae right behind.  And since it spreads out away from the Milky Way, there are a few galaxies, including the wonderful NGC 6946 on the Cygnus/Cepheus border.

        NGC 6811 (19 38.2 +46 34)  At 70X, this open cluster is somewhat bright, very large, rich, and somewhat condensed.  There are  2 levels of stars with 70 stars counted.  It contains some real nice arcs and chains, several prominent arcs, with the rest of the stars organized in 3 groups. One of the arcs goes to the W from cluster, and another arc goes NNE.  Within cluster itself, there is a group on W, one on N, one on E, and a smaller one on S, and some definite voids between the groups.

        NGC 6826 (19 44.8 +50 31)  This is the Blinking Planetary, and although my notes are sketchy, I've looked at it many times.  At 350X, it is very bright, very small, no detail at all powers, kind of green/blue color.  The central star is noticed.  The interesting effect is when you look directly at the object, the central star is obvious and the nebula is not.  When you use averted vision, the nebula becomes visible, but the star disappears.  This effect does not show up with larger apertures.

        NGC 6834 (19 52.2 +29 25)  This open cluster is somewhat bright and a little condensed.  There is a string of 5 stars across the middle running E/W, ignoring this string, it is somewhat round with 2 levels of stars and a total star count of 17, and a possible haze.  On SW side is a nice little grouping of 5 stars.

        NGC 6866 (20 03.7 +44 00)  Another open cluster, this one is pretty bright, not real big, and somewhat concentrated.  The central area has about 15 bright stars with some streamers going away from it, and a couple other groupings for a total of 20-25 stars.

        NGC 6888 (20 12.8 +38 20)  This nebula is one of my favorite objects in Cygnus, especially with a UHC or O-III filter.  At  70X with the UHC filter, I saw it as very large, somewhat bright, and kind of kidney-bean shaped.  On the N side of the nebula is a large trapezium of stars.  The nebula is brightest near the NW star and radiating SW from there.  The center of trapezium is darker, with the nebula forming a sort of ring connecting the stars (as a side note, pictures only show the nebula on the N and W part of the trapezium, therefore this is some sort of optical illusion).  The whole nebula continues S, but gets quite a bit fainter.  This nebula is very spectacular, a beautiful object which is hard to describe.

        NGC 6913 (20 23.9 +38 32)  This open cluster is M-29, one of two Messier objects in Cygnus, and one of the poorer Messier Open Clusters.  At 100X it is pretty bright, not at all condensed, with about 2 levels of stars, and a count about 18 stars.

        NGC 6946 (20 34.8 +60 09)  This large galaxy is on the border of Cygnus and Cepheus.  In the 10" scope, I saw it at 70X as very large, not real bright, and with a slightly brighter center which  fades smoothly into halo.  Using averted vision makes halo stand out a little and brings out a suspicion of a counter-clockwise spiral.  In the 20" scope, it is very large, somewhat faint, with a slightly brighter middle and a somewhat bright non-stellar nucleus.  A very definite counter-clockwise spiral pattern is seen, using averted vision really shows this pattern.

        NGC 6960 (20 45.6 +30 43)  This is the western part of the Veil Nebula, and my personal favorite of the two parts.  At 35X without any filter, it is very subtle extending away from a bright naked eye star.  With the UHC filter, the north portion is very obvious, the south side is not quite as obvious.  The filter brings out a lot of detail.

        NGC 7000 (20 58.8 +44 20)  This is the North American Nebula.  At 35X, it is barely visible without filter, but using the UHC filter really makes it pop out, especially the Caribbean.  The Pacific side is not as obvious.  There is some more nebulosity E of this nebula (which may actually be part of the North American nebula).

        NGC 7092 (21 32.2 +48 26)  This is the second Messier object in Cygnus, M-39.  At 35X, it is very large, very bright, not very rich, and not very condensed.  There are 3 levels of stars with about 30 start counted.  The cluster is triangular shaped, but with no real edge to the cluster.  Many of the stars are doubles, most stars are blue/white in color.

Herschel 400 Objects
6826, 6834, 6866, 6910, 6946, 7000, 7008, 7044, 7062, 7086, 7128
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects
6819, 6826, 6946, 6960, 6992, 7000, 7027


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